Imambara Zadibal

The Imambara Zadibal is considered as the first Imambara that was established by Kaji Chak, who was a minister in the Imperial Army of Sultan Mohammad. Erected by him in 1518, the Imambara Zadibal became a pride of the Kashmir Valley during that era. Aptly located in the Zadibal locality of Srinagar which lies to the western portion of a Fort, the Imambara Zadibal carries a tale of a horrific past that makes your heart melt with sorrow.

The Imambara Zadibal was burnt down and destroyed several times since its inception. This edifice was desecrated by fires eleven times by Mirza Hyder Douglat since the reign of Sultan Nazuk Shah in 1548 AD up till the period of Maharaja Ranbir Singh during 1872 AD.

Owing to communal intolerance that arose during 1548 AD, Mirza Hyder Kashgari Douglat set the Imambara Zadibal on fire for the first time and later, during the year 1551, the Imambara was reconstructed by Daulat Chak. The second time this Imambara Zadibal was burnt was in 1553 when Zafar Kupawari set it afire followed by Imambara getting burnt down again in 1635 by the enemies of Ahlul Bayt [AS], during the reign of Mughal Emperor ShahJahan.

In 1682 AD, the Imambara Zadibal was set on fire again during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir followed by its fifth destruction in the year 1719 AD, during when the Mukhtawi Khan conflict was prevalent. The 6th time when the Imambara Zadibal was set ablaze was in 1748 AD by unknown enemies of Ahlul Bayt [AS] who re-set the Imambara on fire in 1763.

During the Afghan reign in Kashmir, the Imambara Zadibal was set ablaze on 14th June 1801, during the eve of the Ashura occasion. On 29th July 1830, the Imambara Zadibal faced fire destruction again, when the Sikh had reigned over Jammu & Kashmir. On this fateful day, thousands of Shias were brutally massacred at Ali Park in Zadibal, formerly known as the Margibal.

Later, Hakim Mehdi Ali Khan Kashmiri, who was then the Minister of Sultan Nasr-ud-din, the Ruler of Awadh, transferred financial aid to Haji Baqir Khan Irani in order to re-construct the Imambara Zadibal. Haji Baqir Khan Irani transferred this responsibility to Hatim Mir.

After the Imambara was rebuilt, it was set on fire yet again on September 1872, during the reign of Maharaja Ranbir Singh, a Dogra Ruler of Jammu & Kashmir. The King ushered about Rs. 3 Lakhs as a financial aid to reconstruct the Imambara to its present state.

All in all, the Imambara Zadibal witnessed a total of 11 fire destructions, however, during every occasion, the followers of Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] and Ahlul Bayt (AS) - His Household, emerged even stronger to re-construct it.

The Imambara Zadibal can thus be conferred as a formidable ancient masterpiece structure that managed to stand the test of times making it even more intriguing amongst the history enthusiasts. The Imambara is currently operating under the supervision of All Jammu & Kashmir Shia Association. The previous Imambara was demolished in 2004 to make way for the new Imambara structure that we see today.

The New Imambara Zadibal Structure is still undergoing construction work at a sluggish pace. And what we get to notice today is a two-storey building built to resemble the patterns of a typical Persian Style of Architecture featuring oriental bricks, and Maharaji bricks covering over 75 square meter of area. It also features several sideways floor raisings also referred to as the Gulam Gardish; a central ground level floor, referred to as the Pokhr; including a large gallery and four gates.

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